OKLAHOMA CITY (Legal Newsline) - A new law aimed at patent litigation reform in Oklahoma will go into effect next month.

Gov. Mary Fallin signed House Bill 2837 into law in May. The law becomes effective Nov. 1.

Oklahoma joins 17 other states in enacting legislation aimed at reining in so-called “patent trolls.”

Generally speaking, a non-practicing entity, patent assertion entity or patent monetization entity purchases groups of patents without an intent to market or develop a product.

In some cases, but not all, the entity then targets other businesses with lawsuits alleging infringement of the patents it bought. Often, these are referred to as “patent trolls.”

Similar to other state-level reform bills, H.B. 2837 intends to protect businesses from abusive and bad faith assertions of patent infringement.

The law prohibits such claims and lists the factors a court may consider as evidence of a valid claim. It also authorizes a court to award a prevailing plaintiff equitable relief, damages, costs and fees, including reasonable attorney fees and exemplary damages equal to $50,000 or three times the total of damages, costs and fees, whichever is greater.

Also under the Oklahoma law, a claimant is required to post a bond in an amount equal to a good faith estimate, up to $250,000, of the target’s likely cost to litigate -- upon motion by the target and a finding by the court that the target has established a “reasonable likelihood” that the claimant made a bad faith assertion.

State Rep. Charles McCall and Sen. Clark Jolley, both Republicans, introduced H.B. 2837 back in February, citing complaints from local banks about patent trolls threatening to sue over software used in their automated teller machines, or ATMs.

For a more detailed look at the new law, including a vote history, click here.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at patents@legalnewsline.com.

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